Can I use the same dvd-r over and over to add new content to it  or do I need dvdrw for that

Posted on 2005-04-27
Last Modified: 2010-04-03

Hello all ,
I need to backup my documents folder with photo music and misc word documents
I use nero express oem its nero light ( really light !) not the nero express rom from 6.6
So my question is , If I have a checkmark in the multi-session square in my nero cd burning software can I keep using the same cdr or dvdr disc over and over for years
Untill it has 700 mb ..or 4.7 gig of data on it in the case of dvd r

Or do I have to use a new cd-r or dvd- r each time I need to add new files to my folders, new photos,or music cd's to media player playlist
( any new content of data since the last backup)

I need to backup those new files to a stay current with the updates in order to protect against a hardrive failure. But hate to waste cd-r's or dvd-r's like that
Question by:zalman00
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution


    you can continue adding data to the dvd-r up to its capacity, whether that takes two sessions or twenty.  The only thing is that the act of recording a session steals space from the disc, so you'll get less on the disc than its total capacity if you have many burning sessions.

    The same is true for CD-R as well.

    Hope this helps,

    Charlie T.
    LVL 11

    Assisted Solution

    Just make sure when burning not to CLOSE the session - then you can add any time you want.  There is an option in NERO that you specifically have to checkmark for the session to CLOSE after burning.  Once a DVD-R or CD-R session has been closed, you cannot add anything else.

    Hope this answers your question.

    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    You can buy DVD-RW disks that all you to write, then erase and start again. They cost aboyt 3 x the price of a normal disk.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Generally speaking,  if you want to ensure that your backup disk will be readable when you really need it, stay away from RW's and stick with R's.
    LVL 13

    Assisted Solution

    I agree with Charlietou:   RW media is great for temporary things, shuffling data between work and home, or burning a TV show to watch on the TV....     other than that, read-only media is much more reliable for backups.    You will also find that burning RW media takes far longer than you like.

    With -R media, you *can* keep "adding" to the data - so long as you keep the session "open".  (note:  if the session is open on the disc, you CANNOT read from it either!).

    Here is my recommendation, since we're taking BACKUPS here:

    First, use CD-R media.  It doesn't sound like you have tens of gigabytes of stuff to back up.    My guess is CD-R media will fit most of your data on a few discs.

    - CD-R media is CHEAP.   But--  use good name-brand media.   Not some off-brand.
    - Burning CD-R's are FAST
    - Stay AWAY from leaving the session open and all that.    Use nero's "Disc at Once" setting and make sure the disc is closed when done.
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment


    A couple of comments:

    There is both "one time" media (DVD-R) and "eraseable, reuseable, rewriteable" media (DVD-RW).  The latter can be erased and reused, but I don't recommend it.  It's expensive, slow, and the data tends to "fade" .... it's not reliable for long-term use.

    However, I think that your question related not to this, but to adding data to a one-time media that is only partially full, which is called "multisession".

    DVD multisession isn't as clean or as standardized as CD multisession, which works pretty much flawlessly.

    The answer to "can I do DVD multisession" depends on the software and the drives -- both the record drive and the "read" drive, if you ever plan to read the DVD on a drive other than that on which it was made.

    I have not fully tested Nero, but I have fully tested Roxio.  With Roxio, version 5 (and earlier) cannot do DVD multisession, period.  Versions 6 and 7 of the full retail product, when fully updated with the online updates, can, subject to drive limitiations.

    As to the burner, some burners can burn multisession DVDs, and some can't.  I have tested a number of Pioneer drives, and I found that the "04" series cannot burn multisession DVDs, no matter what software is used, while the later "08" series can.  Somewhere between the 04 series and the 08 series, the drives acquired this capability, but I don't know exactly where.

    However, being able to burn such discs isn't the entire issue, because when I took a successfully burned multisession DVD (burned with Roxio 7 and a Pioneer 08 drive), I found that some DVD drives could read it properly (e.g. read all of the data from all of the sessions), while others could only read the data from one of the sessions (the first or the last, I don't remember) and could not othewise read the rest of the data that was on the disc.  For example, the DVD drive in my Toshiba 1415 laptop could read the entire disc, but the older DVD drive in my Toshiba 2805 laptop, while it could read the disc, was only seeing data from one of the sessions on the DVD.

    Since you have Nero and not Roxio, and since you almost certainly have a different DVD burner, you are going to have to do some experimentation to answer your question.  DVD multisession can work, but it doesn't work with all combinations of software, burners and DVD-ROM readers.  (the matter is simplified somewhat if you only plan to read the media in the burner, but often there is a need to be able to read the media on other computers with different drives).

    [Oh, one other comment:  I found that some computers which could not read the media initially became able to read the media after I installed Roxio version 6.  The computers in question DID NOT EVEN HAVE BURNERS IN THEM (at all), but installing the Roxio burning software apparently adds some software to Windows (XP Pro) that enables multi-session DVD reading.]
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment


    Understand the difference between closing the disc and closing the session, which are two different things.  In general, you always want to close the session (at least I cant think of a reason not to).  Closing the session will still allow you to add more to that disc, if it's not full.  [you will be adding another session, hence "multisession"].  However, once you close the disc, nothing further can be added to that disc.  Normally, don't close the disc unless it's very nearly full, or you want to prevent someone else from adding anything to it.

    Author Comment


    Thanks for the help people, I have a few more questions yet which are comming after this background posting
    When my dell windows 98 pc with an internal 100 mb zip drive went to computer heaven or hell whatever I had all of my personally created data ( the my documents folder with tons of files and 100 folders ) created over a period of about six years on a whole bunch of zip discs and when I got this new computer Christmas2004 I bought an iomega 100mb usb 2 zip drive  , everything that was on my old pc was flawlessly put on my new computer no problem at all money , spreadsheets, photos, music and word files everything I did not loose a single file . Its all on this one now ..
    Don’t think the thought of buying a iomega 750 zip drive did not run thru my mind but they tell me that’s like buying a 1950 studebacker car or something like that. Anyway now I have 16x ultra fast dvdrw dl benq and LG cdrw 52x ultra fast and nero express its nero light ( real light !) its oem it came with pc  but not nero burning rom which is 100 bucks , which I am in the process of getting familiar with thanks to experts exchange and there help...

    From these post especially watzmans very detailed expertise on the subject ,  and then after reading and distilling the comments from the limited understanding I have compared to the experts here
     The bottom line is , If I want to be as close as possible to 100% protected and not have to worry if my backups are valid is to do these three things
     1-  cd instead of dvd and make sure its cd-r rather then cdrw ( that’s doable )
    2- make sure to use the same burning software ( that’s doable )
    3- make sure to use the same computer > that’s definitely not doable because if my hardrive goes and I want to replace the computer rather then the hdd most likely it will be a different computer with a different os as well ….
    But two out of three aint bad …

    A little off the subject  not that I don’t agree with the experts I do and I am going to use cd/dvd r’s or cdrs only from now on but just for argument sake I just thought of something reading these posts and I am interested in knowing what you think about this thought that just occurred to me
    Don’t you think that its ok to use rw’s rather then r’s because
    if you going to erase the contents of the  whole disc and write over it again each time with the previous content plus the lastest new files added on to the old data content each time each session is really short term
    This periodic  backup updating is to make sure if you have to restore your not leaving out the any of your most current personally created data
    Or even a full backup ( a ghosted clone of your primary drive which is periodically updated  ) the same hold true all current updates and configurations is in the backup and both types of backups are a precaution should there be a disaster like hardrive destruction  or os corruption
    So therefore in the short run then using dvdrw or cdrw should be ok because each rw is like a brand new disc each time and if the image verifys ok and if you open it in a partition and it looks like a good copy then if it does deteriorate doesn’t it take years it would only happen between backups which in data backups are a few days apart and full backups a few months apart  for deteriation  to happened sort of like a video tape that could deteriorate after ten or more years only with cdrw dvdrw its maybe in  two or three years ..  Or is it not the data on the disc  thats vulnerable but the physical disk itself with can self destruct at any given time ??

    LVL 13

    Accepted Solution

    Actually, I would have bought a parallel port zip drive on E-Bay for $5, connected it, transferred the zip disks (great things in their day ... which is long since passed), and been done with it.  But the bottom line is the same, you have the data on your new computer.

    I have to agree, however, not to put any more money into Zip hardware.  But go ahead and keep what you have.  I still have one that I keep, and occasionally I even have a use for it.

    You can get the "full version" Nero and Roxio packages in stores on sale for as little as $19.  You just have to be very patient and wait for the right sale.  In the past 90 days, Best Buy, CompUSA and Outpost (Fry's mail order division) have had both products for $19, usually after several rebates (some of these may be "upgrade" rebates, that you may or may not qualify for).

    I'm finding DVD actually as reliable if not more reliable than CD.  One reason, on a CD, the data is in a dye layer that is on one side of the media, protected only by a lacquer layer.  On a DVD, the dye layer is INSIDE a "sandwich" of two plastic discs.  However, on a DVD, the plastic discs can "delaminiate", which will destroy the data, so it's still not totally free from worry about physical damage.

    Lots of optical drives are not very good, I see a 50% failure rate in one year.  I don't feel that I can trust one until I've used it for quite a while.  This goes for both CD and DVD.  I am very conservative about my core of old data.  So I have quite a few backups (more than half a dozen), some on DVD media, some on CD media, and there are copies stored in safe deposit box.  Most home users don't consider the possibility of fire seriously enough.  You need some backups "off site" it it's stuff you really don't want to lose.

    If you've got a "good burn" from a "good burner" on "good media" [ :-) ], then I don't think it matters whether you use Nero or Roxio, or what computer or drive the burn was origianlly made on.  One thing that we have not gone into here and I don't want to (because it is a very long discussion), be sure that when you make CD's, that you are making a "real" CD (e.g. an "ISO standard layout"), and not a "UDF" (or "Packet writing") CD.  These are non-standard, and often (almost normally) cannot be read on other computers.

    Also, if you are being cautious, test your CDs and DVDs by simply reading them to be sure that they can be read error free.  There is a free program called CD-Check (at that does this automatically for just that purpose.

    I would not use any RW media (CD or DVD) for anything but short-term storage.  I don't view the old versions of backups as "wasted", I view them as an opportunity to keep things off site, and to keep multiple versions of a program.  Sometimes a program on your hard drive gets corrupted or virus-infected and you don't know it .... the file is still there and readable, and nothing has happened to the sytem or hard drive .... and you need to go back to a backup that was made before this corruption or infection occured, and you might need to go to a backup that was made years ago.  It's not enough to have "a" (one) backup, then you make a new one and you destroy the old one.  You want to keep at least some of those backups for a long time (years), and it also gives you "extra" copies that you can keep off-site.  But the stability of RW media just isn't that good, and I only use it for very limited applications.  (A good application is "bringing work home" from your work PC to your home PC, and then taking it back the next day, where it's just a transport media for very short term use (24 hours)).  The RW media, from what I've seen, isn't going to lasy years.


    Author Comment

    Thanks Watzman
    Yes I am very particular about my not loosing any of my personal created data , even if I don't look at it very often , its very important to me especially my money program data and spreadsheet data and photos and believe me I was really relieved and happy when all my seven years of accumulated one whole gig of data was successfully transfered over to my new pc with the zip discs and it was worth the extra trouble , as far as parallal port the one I have is used by my printer so I could not have used the zip that way , I guess that would have transfered everything to my new computor in one fell swoop instead of one by one ....

    That verification application seems like a good idea , but its in Hungarian or Polish or some other european language , anything like that in English that you know of ?

    I guess as long as I am not using cd rw or dvd rw I don't think  its not going to be 'UDF' anyway right ?
     and cd r or dvd r is by definiton automatically going to be " iso standard layout " or do you have to have the full version of Nero 6.6 and tell it on one of the screens that thats what you want " iso standard layout " ?
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    As long as we're on the topic of backups, I will describe what I do, for what it's worth.    Like the author, I am paranoid about my precious data - and photos, and such:

    First off, my computer has two primary hard drives.    One is for the operating system (XP), the other is my data (and "My Documents" and so on).      Yes, I can get into clever partitioning schemes and such, but the bottom line is, it's simpler, and works well.  

    In addition to the above primary setup, I also have a third larger internal drive.   That's for backups.   I use DRIVEIMAGE (but also could work well with GHOST, etc) and perform REGULAR full backups of my C/D drives.     One click, crunch-crunch-crunch goes the backup operation.    That preserves everything.   If either or both of my primary drives fail-  I'm protected.

    I also now posess a HUGE external USB drive, which I occasionally ALSO copy my entire data drive to.    No software here--  just click, copy, paste.   Done.

    Lastly, about every 60 days I do DVD-R backups of my data drive.    These discs get stored in my safe.

    This may sound overboard, but it's not... really.   It's also inexpensive.     The internal drive I use for backups?   80 bucks.     The external (160G!) drive I use for my extra backups?   About a hundred bucks, and that included the USB enclosure.

    I am protected from hardware failure, accidental file deletion, malicious attacks, and also protected JUST in the case DRIVEIMAGE fails to restore things properly, and I'm also protected in the case of a home disaster such as fire.

    My lesson here?    Don't depend on JUST cd's, dvd's, etc.    An extra hard drive- or two- can go a VERY long way.  They're inexpensive and fast.
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment


    CDCheck is in English (or at least the one that I have is), and that URL came from the "Help/about", but I see the problem.  While the program exists in English, that site, as I typed it .... isn't.  Try this URL: it is in english.  Believe it or not, that URL is case-sensitive???

    To made UDF discs, you use the "InCD" component of Nero (Roxio calls this either "Drag-to-Disc" or "Direct CD").  Just avoid those (I don't even install them, but while they are not required, they are installed by default if you don't pay attention).

    I guess that the 3 of us are all paranoid.  It comes from answering too many "I lost my data" questions, I guess (this site is littered with them).  You can get an external USB case for about $30, and I've seen Western Digital 160 gig hard drives (the fast, large cache "JB" models, no less) as low as $29 after rebates (Best Buy, about 5 weeks ago).  They are convenient.


    Author Comment

    Thanks Watzman,
    Thats a real good application and its free looks like I really like it  .
     Appreciate it !
    With Nero express
    I wonder if this is sufficient to prevent INCD from doing its dirty work ...
    I have INCD square in INCD options to" launch INCD when disc is inserted"
    only checked off if I am going to use an rw disc dvd or cd
     but If I am going to use a r only  cd or dvd , I remove the checkmark from the square " launch INCD when disc is inserted "
     but I can't uninstall the whole program
    and I always see the INCD icon in the system tray each time I use nero express
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    since you are suggesting software with regards to burning , try this out :
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment


    I'd remove the checkmark from the "launch INCD when disc is inserted" box.  I doubt if you can uninstall it once it's installed, without completely uninstalling Nero.  But if you open the main burning application (main program), you presumably are making an ISO standard CD.

    Author Comment

    OK thank your Watzman ,
    I don't know if I have the option in Nero express oem to open the main burning application , its completely different then Nero uploaded 6.6 as you know it does not have the nero burning rom application its a bare bones version that came with the computer  , the only option I saw is to multisession and verify and put in the date , I did not even see anything about closing the disc or closing the session but I haven't used it for a few days , next time I use it I will look more carefully for those options but I don't recall seeing any of them ...
    By the way nero lastest version supports dual layer dvd-r
    Do you think I will have any trouble if I un install n ero express and install  nero 6.6  watzman ...

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